“We had no idea,” a number of people reading this blog have told me.
“I’ve been such a rubbish friend,” said one, feelingly, a couple of days ago. (This is absolutely not true, by the way: she has been one of the kindest and most supportive people in our lives. But she obviously feels she didn’t know enough.) “Even though you told us from the start that Bink was ill...”
So should every family affected by madness be writing about it...?
Part of the trouble, of course, is that most mad people are not able to articulate their suffering themselves. They may be living on the streets, or in prison. Or simply in isolation in a bedroom: I know of at least one such.
Who does this on behalf of the loonies?
And does this go some way to explaining why mental health provision is so much worst than dire?
Serena has said to me a number of times, “You’ve barely begun to convey how awful it was. When Bink came out of the [Florence Nightingale] Unit, for instance. If readers don’t experience the depths, they won’t feel the elation now she is receiving treatment at last.”
Must try harder...
Be that as it may, today is a day for good news.
Bink rang yesterday. She is about to start on the Priory’s bootcamp Addiction Treatment Programme. 28 days, no contact at all with the outside world for the first week and not much after that. Full-on, 7.45 in the morning till 9.30 at night. Visitors only on Sunday afternoons, and none the first weekend.
And Bink thinks she will be far too busy for visitors on Sundays anyway, catching up with her washing.
It is a while since she had much acquaintance with life before midday. Let alone experienced anything one could describe as busy. It could prove an interesting relationship.
“Are you excited?” I asked. Nobody is expecting an easy ride.
“I am, actually.”
This picture is of the bubbles Rose blew in the park, when we visited Bink last Sunday.
Is it too much to hope that one day, Bink might become the Frank Gardner of the world of madness?
* * * * *
PS Ha ha ha ha ha. This is the first time I’ve added to a post written earlier in the day, but I can’t resist. Bink has just rung again.
“Please can you do me a favour?”
“Of course, Bink.”
“What will you be doing at ten to nine tomorrow morning?”
“Probably writing this blog. I post every day by ten.”
“Could you get me up, please?” From Bedford. Fifty miles away. All I have in my armoury is Alexander Graham Bell’s invention. “By Thursday I have to be in breakfast by a quarter to eight, so I’m trying to get up half an hour earlier each day.”
She is talking to me from a top-of-the-range, state-of-the-art psychiatric hospital.
“And nobody here can get me out of bed.”